Earlier this summer we welcomed our summer policy & advocacy interns to our DC office. Adam and Matthew are part of the bleeding disorders community and were chosen to participate in a 10-week internship because of their leadership qualities and interest in the field of policy and advocacy. Throughout the summer, Adam and Matthew:
- Gained legislative, policy, and advocacy training
- Attended hearings and Capitol Hill office visits
- Visited Executive Branch Agencies
- Worked on projects with A-PLUS and PPTA
- Authored policy-specific whitepapers and issue brief
- Worked with their local HFA member organization
Thank you to Baxalta for giving HFA a grant to make this internship possible. Learn more by reading their first-hand experiences:
What was your favorite part of your summer at HFA?
Adam:Â My favorite part of the summer was getting to be involved in policy that would affect the bleeding disorders community. It has be a very rewarding experience to work with everyone here to achieve change for our community. I also loved every opportunity to be down on Capitol Hill, whether listening to hearings or participating in the Fly-In. It is an incredible, bustling place to be, and it’s an exciting thing to be around the people who are working toward our country’s future.
Matthew:Â My favorite part of the summer was participating in the Patient Fly-In. It was amazing to see how much impact community members have in the legislative process and inspiring to see people coming together from all over the country for such a great cause.
What was the most surprising thing you learned over the summer?
Adam: The most surprising thing I learned over the summer was from our trip to the plasma donation facility in Maryland-that the plasma stored after donation has to be kept at very cold temperatures in order to avoid the decomposition of the proteins. Another thing I enjoyed learning was that there is a wide variety of legislation happening at the state level all over the country.
Matthew: The most surprising thing I learned this summer was the amount of legislation that impacts the bleeding disorders community. It requires constant attention and collaboration to make sure it positively impacts the community.
What was the most important thing you learned over the summer?
Adam: The most important thing I learned was that it often takes a large, concerted effort to get legislation passed, but that with enough pressure and desire to make a change happen, policy progress can occur. Seeing how grassroots support can help legislation move through Congress helped me understand the importance of our community’s advocacy efforts.
Matthew: The most important thing I learned this summer is the value of persistence. Many legislative issues that HFA and other patient-centered organizations tackle are complex, requiring a high level of comprehension and strategy for effective responses. This process can be drawn out over long periods of time, and persistence and patience is the best way to stick with it!
What advice do you have for others interested in applying for this internship?
Adam: This internship is perfect for those passionate about healthcare policy; that’s what drew me to apply. Applicants should expect to work hard on policy initiatives important to the bleeding disorders community. If possible, get some experience with a local chapter or organization and do some volunteer work to get a good handle on the issues facing the community before coming into a position like this.
Matthew: I would tell others to be creative and proactive both in the application process and the internship. The internship is a great experience that puts you in on the ground level of health policy. It will likely be a previously unexplored realm, but taking a vested interest and trying to become involved in the community will make the experience extremely worthwhile.
How has this internship helped you to become a stronger advocate and leader?
Adam: I think one of the best ways the internship taught me to be a stronger leader and advocate was when we spent our day on the Hill. Speaking not only on my own behalf but on that of many others within the community was very rewarding. I also feel that through my work with my local chapter at home I have been able to gain some experience in political activism while working on legislation and public policy, and I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity.
Matthew: This internship has shown me the benefits of strength in numbers and encouraged me to lead a cause by encouraging others, not just hoping they will follow.
How are you going to stay involved in the bleeding disorders community?
Adam: I plan to stay involved in Minnesota through HFMD, in their Annual Walk for Bleeding Disorders or by contributing to Veinline, their magazine. Nationally, I hope to stay involved with HFA by attending Symposium and fundraising for the community.
Matthew: I plan to stay involved in the community by attending annual events and becoming involved in advocacy for my local chapter.